One Last Thing Before I Say, “Good Day Mates!”

I don’t want to wear anything out or burn anyone of you out on anything on this site. So I am leaving this up to you:

We were approached by two new Pagan Wholesalers. Both of these Wholesalers sell some great items. One, we can get a tremendous merchandise for very reasonable prices. So now we have three spots we can pull merchandise from. What I want to know while we updating tonight is…..

“THINK on THESE THINGS” for October 2nd

“THINK on THESE THINGS”
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Aim high, even though it seems at the moment you’ll never reach that cherished dream. It is your duty to lift yourself above mediocrity. And if you’re afraid your dream will sound foolish, then don’t talk about it, work for it.

Some dreams have gossamer wings, too fragile to discuss. We can be so zealous about our plans that we talk away the mystery and lose interest in the things we’ve begun. Zeal can burn itself out in one, quick, bright flame, or it can be nurtured into strength that is the basis for greatness.

If dreams have substance, then they may well come true. And if they are in line with the law of good, then there will be someone who wants to help. To have the desire to do something that will benefit others, the desire to serve, is to have a dream with solid possibilities.

The aims, then, must be deserving as to become duties. It falls to certain individuals to develop a gift and to use it in helping other people. As German philosopher Immanuel Kant has written, “What are the aims which are at the same time duties? They are the perfecting of ourselves and the happiness of others.”

*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*<<<=-=>>>*

Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 2

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – October 2

“Laughter – that is something very sacred especially for us Indians.”

–John (Fire) Lame Deer, ROSEBUD LAKOTA

Laughter is mental, laughter is emotional, laughter is physical and laughter is spiritual. Laughter helps us find balance. If we get too angry, laughter will turn that emotion in a balanced direction. If we have a mental picture of someone who is too strong, laughter will help ease the tension. If the body is stressed, laughter will release natural relaxants into our muscles and our nervous system. Laughter often changes our attitude. We need to lighten up and laugh more.

Great Spirit, teach me to laugh.

October 2 – Daily Feast

October 2 – Daily Feast

Sweet fragrance of the land, herbs and roots and medicines long lost to the general populace, are nonetheless as present as they always have been. We have been so taken with miracle cures, these things have been put away as folklore and not dependable. The simple people at one time had no other alternative – so runs the present-day popular notion. Hard-fought battles over who is to pay for the miracle medicines – and we are grateful for most of them – may turn a venturesome soul back to the soil and back to those things that heal a mind and body without being asked for proof of insurance. But one other thing far too ignored is the power of prayer. No Indian is remiss in blessing his body and soul and spirit because he knows they work together. His prayer is not now and again but regular and potent.

~ The lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too. ~

LUTHER STANDING BEAR – LAKOTA

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II’ by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Daily Motivator for October 2nd – Often enough

Often enough

Persistence is really quite simple, and extremely powerful. If you don’t get  it right the first time, see it not as a failure but as an opportunity for  another more informed and experienced attempt.

The best response to a disappointing result is more effort. Feel the  disappointment, let it make you more determined, and then move quickly to a  highly effective state of taking action.

Do what must be done, then do it again and again, and again. Even the  smallest action can have enormous impact when repeated often enough.

But how can you get back up when you’ve just fallen down? You do it by  reminding yourself it’s clearly the best choice, and then making the choice to  act in your own best interest.

Persistence is not always easy, yet it’s not particularly complicated either.  You’ve made the effort before, so it’s really not such a big deal to go ahead  and make it again.

Do that often enough, and your actions take on great power and effectiveness.  Do that often enough, and achievement is yours.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for October 2nd – Staying Afloat

Staying Afloat

Riding the Wave of life

by Madisyn Taylor

While riding the wave of life you must also practice stillness so you can flow with, rather than resist the wave’s motion.

Our lives are continually in motion, buoyed by the wave that is the universe’s flow. As the wave rises and falls, we are carried forward, through life’s high and low points. The universe’s flow may take us to a place in life where we would rather not be. As tempting as it can be to fight the direction and size of this wave that propels us, riding the wave is intended to make life easier. When you ride the wave, your life can evolve naturally and with minimal effort. Riding the wave, however, is not a passive experience. It is an active process that requires you to be attentive, centered, and awake. You must also practice stillness so you can flow with, rather than resist the wave’s motion.

Because life is dynamic and always changing, it is when we try to make the wave stand still or resist its direction that we are likely to get pulled under by its weight. If you try to move against the wave, you may feel as if you are trapped by it and have no control over your destiny. When you reach a low point while riding the wave and find your feet touching bottom, remember to stay standing so that you can leap forward along with the wave the next time it rises. Trying to resist life’s flow is a losing proposition and costly because you waste energy.

Riding the wave allows you to move forward without expending too much of your own efforts. When you ride the wave, you are carried by it and your head can “stay above water as you go wherever it takes you. It can be difficult to trust the universe and let go of the urge to fight life’s flow, and you may find it easier to ride the wave if you can stay calm and relaxed. Riding the wave will always take you where you need to go.

The Daily OM

The People You Meet on the Pagan Path

The People You Meet on the Pagan Path

Author: MissElphie

There are always people who leave a mark along our path in our Pagan path. Those people who supported us and who taught us things that, probably, we wouldn’t have learned in any other way. These people are essential and must not be forgotten. After all, no matter how many books we write, how many thesis are made and researches done, there is always space to learn and embrace knowledge that we get through experience and by the teaching of others. That is what I’ll be talking about today.

The solitary path is a path that is often chosen, especially in today’s society in which most Pagan practitioners live in the big metropolis and cities, and where finding a coven is getting harder and harder. These good covens hide themselves more often than you think. And, if covens do ‘go public’, much of the time, they aren’t that big of a thing or there is a high chance that they are not what the practitioners are looking for. Good covens are hard to find. Not only due to their shortage but also because it’s complicated for a solitary to fit their eclectic costumes and already acquired traditions in a group that is as well defined as a coven. It ends up being complicated. Additionally, today’s individualism and our consumer and technological society oft results in isolation from the community around us (in favor of a virtual community) which may lead to a disconnection.

These factors plus the routine and daily busy life of the metropolis leads to shortage of time.
As you can see, there are numerous factors that may stop a solitary practitioner from joining a coven. There is, also, the possibility of the practitioner himself/herself not wanting to join a coven (like my case, for example) .

Don’t judge me wrong, I believe that life in a coven can be amazing and very enriching and, if possible, I recommend the experience if you are so inclined, since all paths teach us something. But, in this article, I’m focusing more on the solitary side of the Pagan practice.

For a solitary, magickal practice requires a routine by which the seeker learns things by himself/herself. We must alone search for authors, read books, research sources, etc. It ends up being our daily lives, so, after a couple of years, it becomes second nature. We know that author X is good and author Y is not that good. We prefer the works of X and not of Z. And so on.

However when we do meet someone who may be able to help us, such as someone with more experience, it’s always great. And, my advice is to take that opportunity. You can share what you know with that person and that person will share her knowledge with you. You can have arguments about a certain theory and, by debating it, reach a common and satisfactory answer. You can read books and discuss opinions on the subject or go to public events and find more people to talk to and learn from or teach.

With the help of others, our path only gets richer. It is still a solitary path and ours in the practical terms, since it is created and followed by us alone, but we always learn a lot interacting with others.

Throughout the years, I’ve met several people (not only online but also in person) who have taught me so much and helped me grow. I’m no longer that girl who thought that Wicca was all fairies and pink and that all other Pagan paths were a simple minority. Today, I have a clear notion of what Paganism is, of Wicca and of several different pagan paths, not only when talking about Neo-Paganism, but also pre-Christian beliefs.

I’m not saying that everyone whom you will meet will teach you something good for you to use in your daily path. But they will teach you something. They might, at least, teach you not to follow their path (if they are one of those crazy nut-heads that go around or a scammer) . Everyone has something to teach you and you must, along your path, learn everything you can from people, whether they are Pagan or not (Yes, even followers of other religions have a lot to teach you, especially when it comes to respecting other people’s beliefs) .

But of course, be careful. Don’t try everything people tell you to try. There are a lot of people who are amazing and who will teach you things that will last for a lifetime but there are also may be people with bad intentions who only want to harm you, scam you or worse. Trust me, I’ve seen people whose only interest in helping others was to gain money or fame or just use that “wanting to help” as a way of scamming them. Always be careful and always be very alert during any conversation. Think for yourself and, if necessary, ask for the opinion of someone older or with more knowledge than you, in whom you trust. .

Life has a lot to teach us and there are so many things to try and learn from. Don’t keep yourself entirely locked away from the world by not socializing, by not meeting other pagans. At first it can be hard to see so many points of views. Some you might even think “What is this?” but that will also teach you to respect others. There is so much you can learn by meeting and by talking to other pagans.

Find some events in your area or, if you are going on vacation to somewhere, search if there are any pagan gathering nearby and plan a visit. Or find an online forum and join up, meet some people and learn new things.

My simple conclusion: Socialize. Talk to people, enter social networks of Paganism, sign into forums and meet people. Learn with them and discover new worlds filled with knowledge. Who knows? You might even find a coven that will be your future family. You never know what plans the Gods have in store for us.

Live life to the fullest; know the world and live your religion.

Goddess Blessings,
MissElphie

Thoughts on Death

Thoughts on Death

Author: Crick

As I walk about within the comfortable embrace of the forest, my thoughts begin to take shape. High above me in a sky draped with dark clouds, sits our Sacred Mother upon her regal throne. She is in her fullness on this special night. She is sending out energy that very nearly takes me to my knees. As I gaze upon her, I can feel a light drizzle, the remnants of her tears, as they cascade out of the sky. It is then that I begin to think about the concept of death as seen by her children here on Gaia.

Some of her children express their beliefs in such a way that one would think that there was an indivisible split between her and our sacred father. Like naughty children seeking the favor of one parent, they deny the existence of their sacred mother.

As part of this denial they espouse divergent views about the wholeness of life. A wholeness which not only encompasses that which we as their children know it to be, but that of which we have as yet to develop an awareness and acceptance of. In an effort to distinguish themselves from the sacred mother, they offer a distorted concept of the sacred wheel of spiritual growth in its glorious entirety.

A jaded concept that gives power and control to those blighted children who would choose one parent over the other. For such misguided children have not the maturity to embrace both as one. Their love is one-sided though they recognize this not.

They would use this impaired knowledge to frighten others into their fold. They would cast fear upon the concept of death by portraying our spiritual voyage as being limited to just this one and only realm. As a final journey as per their view, they would offer but one of two extremes.

And who goes to either extreme is determined in great part by those jealous children who have closed their hearts to the whole and who in turn have chosen but a part of that whole. Their focus is limited to the greed and power that corrupts their handicapped souls. For a partial love is far less then the greatness of the whole and thus leaves them impaired in their vision of real spiritual growth.

Then there are those children who suspect that perhaps loving but one sacred parent to the exclusion to the other is not entirely what is intended for those who travel through this humanly realm. They will mouth the words of love and acceptance of both sacred parents, but deep within, their hearts are paralyzed with a fear like a slow moving poison.

They claim an understanding of death as proffered by their newly chosen set of beliefs, but the words of their former association with those of narrow mind still reverberates in their minds. They become torn between both sacred parents and the beliefs as espoused by their various children, as if there was an overwhelming requirement to choose between the two.

Thus they follow the examples of those who are sorely limited in their love while secretly and with divided attention they attempt to associate with those whose hearts fully embrace both sacred parents and who have not the fear and the misguided notions of life and death. Such children go through life without the sense of security and serenity that is just beyond their fingertips.

Such indecision must be a terrible burden to bear, for such fears are spurned not by Deity but rather by their own brothers and sisters who are hobbled by their own lack of understanding. Nor will they acknowledge such insecurities, for to do so would require them to actually devote to one path or the other. And yet there can be no solutions or peace within the soul without such acknowledgement. And so they go through this life torn between the realities of spiritual growth and the misnomers of human will.

And lastly there are those children who refuse to differentiate one sacred parent from the other. Offering their unrequited love with no restraints placed upon them by the words and actions of their spiteful and somewhat confused brothers and sisters. Such are those who fully embrace the pagan way without the taint of hypocrisy or the blinding dogma of those who would choose sides where both sides are actually one.

For their love is pure and has no such obstacles. They go through this realm without the self imposed obstacles and instead tackle those obstructions, which are necessary in gaining a deeper understanding of the spiritual whole.

Death like its counterpart; life, are necessary parts of the whole. As a witch I fear neither, for both states of being emanates from our sacred parents. It is a trial of experiences that our spirits will undergo in its goal to become as one with the whole. As a child of Deity I fully understand that there will be limitations on our knowledge and direction of spiritual progression. There may be other states of being that we are not aware of as yet, and may not be aware of until we progress into death.

As I look around at the spirits that are gathered all about me as I stand here in this mist covered forest, these beings who are currently living in that realm we call death, I can’t but help to wonder if they are afraid of the next step in their spiritual growth. You know… that realm that we call life.

As a witch I personally do not believe that to end our existence here in this realm pre-maturely is within our proper arena of decision-making. That is the province of Deity alone.

But as a witch I walk with one foot in the light, a light that represents our awareness within this realm and with one foot in the dark, a light that represents knowledge yet to be learned. And so I fear neither life nor death for to do so is deny oneself the experience of the whole. And is not that what the sacred wheel supposed to represent?

Or do we just take to heart those segments of the wheel that appeals to us while in this realm?

Those Pretty, Sexy Witches

Those Pretty, Sexy Witches

Author: Sia@FullCircle

It is known as The Season of the Witch, a time when hefty bags of candy appear on shelves, skeletons come out of dark closets to dance among us, and that ugly, green-faced hag stalks the store aisles, frightening little children and annoying real Witches no end. For many years now, both in response to that Hag, and for my own amusement, I have collected items that portray her opposite. As a result, I have dozens of pretty, sexy, positive Witch figures, toys, trinkets, and images in my collection. Some of these pieces feature young women and little girls, while others depict sweet-faced older gals. The elders are often shown hugging cats or puppies or they carry books, flowers or tiny bags of chocolate. For those in the know, that pretty much says it all.

Finding Positive Witch Figures

When I began collecting twenty years ago it was easiest to find such images in vintage postcards published before 1925 or in copies of pin-up posters from the 1950’s and 60’s. Modern representations were much harder to find. After years of asking for “pretty witches” in stores, and getting odd looks, and after much searching, I began to find what I was after. (1) This was long before the collectible fantasy sculptures you see now were available, and before those pretty fantasy witch outfits for young girls and women could be found in on-line catalogs and the Halloween stores. These days, you can walk into any collectibles store and find sculptures of charming, pretty, sexy, witchy women. During Halloween you can even find these types of items in drug stores. Many of the sexy ones are a bit outré, that’s true. This has often been the case.

The Witch as Sex Toy

One way to remove power from a female image is to make it too cute, too busty, too Marilyn Monroe-ish, and so turn Her into a sex toy. That has been going on for a very long time. There are many provocative and in some cases, charming witch images in art, photography and advertising. To see some of these check out the Sexy Witch Blog by Red Witch (the link is below) . Please Note: This contains very Adult Content, folks – Do not watch this site at work.

Taming the Sexy Witch

Because the young witch is seen as sexy and alluring she has power over those who desire her. That makes her dangerous. So our culture sought to tame her and keep her power for it’s own use. Examples of this can be seen in the 1958 film “Bell, Book and Candle” and in the television series “Bewitched”. As a girl growing up I could never figure out why someone with Samantha’s life experience, talent, and wit would be happy living a boring, subservient life with a dim witted dullard like Darrin. (Being ten at the time, I did not realize that “Bewitched”, “I Dream of Jeannie” and shows like it were a cultural backlash in response to the early Women’s Movement, portraying women with power as besotted handmaidens to rather nervous males) . At least the television version of Samantha (as played by Elizabeth Montgomery) was powerful, subversive and smart, unlike her later counterpart in the film remake of that name. (A link to an insightful review of the remake is noted below.)

Finding the Center

The pendulum swings and swings again. The characters of Willow (from the TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer) , Hermione (from the Harry Potter series) , Tiffany (from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series) along with many of their sister witches in fiction are antidotes to the negative, exploitative or simply silly image of the witch. More positive portraits will come in time.

Crone or Hag?

Whenever we work with the Crone image, we confront our own fears about death, aging and the unknown. As Pagans know, the Crone can be both our ally, and our teacher. But how do we define a Crone? I believe the woman of the Elderflower Festival in California (www.elderflower.org) have done this rather well. They note that the Crone “has often developed a deeper awareness of her own mortality, either through her own brush with death or through facilitating the passage of another. She is shifting from an external focus to a more introspective state. She experiences a sense of urgency to get on with the real business of her life, and she has begun to shed the old in order to pursue what has now emerged as her life purpose.”

This is a figure to be honored, not feared, so it is not surprising that some Pagans find the classic Halloween caricature of the Crone to be deeply offensive. Others shrug it off with a smile. What seems ominous, to me, is the way in which the use of this green-faced creature in modern day culture mirrors the historical periods of Pagan and Witch persecution. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, western patriarchal culture, fueled by the fear of women, (especially older, independent women) promoted a monster known as the Witch.

Frequent crop failures, famines, global weather changes (known to us as the Little Ice Age) as well as injustice, poverty, constant warfare, religious scandals, torture, imprisonment without trial, abuse of power, and political unrest haunted those times. The vicious, vengeful, envious Witch figure was used by those in power to blame ‘the other” for their problems. During this period, professional Witch Finders were paid for every witch they found. How’s that for incentive? Any money, property and animals owned by these witches (mostly older, usually widow women) enriched the town and the church after their deaths. This made the Witch business a very profitable one for all concerned.

Bashing Witches is Good Business.

Just as Jerry Falwell tried to blame feminists, gays, lesbians and Pagans for 9/11 in order to raise his TV ratings, so too did Church and State powers once blame women, Jews, and lepers for the Black Plague. As the Germans used the Jews as scapegoats in Hitler’s day, so did Medieval and Renaissance cultures in the West use non-Christians, cats and old women as the focus for the fear and blame felt by those who suffered because of their greed, corruption and incompetence. When we Pagans say “Never again the Burning Times” we mean that we will not allow ignorance or any Powers That Currently Be to scapegoat or harm our people again.

The Origins of the Green-faced Hag

As far as I can tell, the green colored skin dates from the character of The Wicked Witch of the West as portrayed by Margaret Hamilton in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”. (See link to Wikipedia entry below, which shows her portrayal in the movie compared to the original illustrations for the book) . As the Wikipedia entry notes, “In the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch, played by actress Margaret Hamilton, was stooped, green-skinned, and dressed entirely in black. In many people’s minds, this representation of The Wicked Witch has become an archetype for human wickedness.”

Advertisers and toy makers picked up on this version and the classic Hag persona, (which featured wrinkles, a long nose, a wart or two, claw like hands, and a pointy chin) added on the green skin. The green colored skin makes the Halloween Witch seem even less human, and more demonic, than before. It is now a standard feature of this image.

I should note here that there is another, far sadder potential origin of this image. This was pointed out by a writer named Angel in 1999 in the form of a prose poem which has been seen at many a Pagan newsgroup since it first appeared. To read it, visit the Endnotes section of this article, and click on “She Returns: The Halloween Witch”

She Who Changes

Can a pretty Witch figure do anything to change people’s hearts and minds? You never know. But keep an eye out for pretty Witches this season and see how many more of them you see now, than you ever saw before. I would argue that the image is changing, as more and more of us come out of the broom closet in positive ways. We change the image, and the image changes the way people see us, as well. When you think about it, the process is…magical.

Uppity Older Women

Most cultures realize that elders, assuming they have paid attention to life’s many lessons, know a bit more then their younger counterparts. Some cultures fear that knowledge, some honor it and use it. Suzanne Braun Lavine, in an prescient article for Ms. Magazine some years back, (see link below) quoted Gloria Steinem’s famous saying that that older women tend to get more radical, not less, as they age. She also quotes Gerda Lerner’s observation that “Such a critical mass of older women with a tradition of rebellion and independence and a way of making a living has not occurred before in history.”

Yea, verily. That fact is only beginning to be noted and we’re going to hear more about older women changing this culture. This is why the old woman in the conical hat with the black cat in her arms can make me smile. I know her true power. Her headgear has long been associated with medieval noblewomen and mystics and outsiders in general (2) ; groups viewed as threats because of their learning and their frequent refusal to toe the dogmatic party line.

Patriarchal culture made these women into such an out-sized caricature so they could mock them and assure that others who might listen to their wisdom would shun them in fear. But in mocking these old ladies (old ladies back then being anyone over the age of 35) , they have unwittingly brought Her down to us through history. Now we can restore that “old” woman to her rightful place, that of experienced, well traveled, thoughtful Elder.

This is not the wizened, frail Crone of yesteryear. Older women today are independent, sexual beings and they have means. They are also powerful Healers, learned Advocates, courageous Guardians, effective Organizers, and a clear-eyed, questioning Seers. As the saying goes, “Everything She touches, changes.”

There are millions of us now, and we are standing up, changing things, and demanding to be heard. And, by the way, we vote.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Sia

Links:

Sexy Witch Blog:

Article by Levine for Ms. Magazine:

Pagan Myths Debunked: Where Do You Think That Pointy Hat Came From, Anyway? by Lillith Veritas:

Review of Bewitched Remake by James Bowman

The Wicked Witch of the West:

Another Theory for the Green-faced Witch
She Returns: The Halloween Witch

Endnotes:

(1) Feminists, Pagans, store owners, and collectors were a bit ahead of a coming trend back in the early 90’s and were, perhaps, a small influence on that trend. This is what Malcolm Glaswall in his book “The Tipping Point” calls The Law of the Few, which contends that before widespread popularity can be attained, a few key types of people must champion an idea, concept, or product before it can reach the tipping point. Glaswell describes these key types as Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen. If individuals representing all three of these groups endorse and advocate a new idea, it is much more likely that it will tip into exponential success.

(2) Excerpt from Pagan Myths Debunked: Where Do You Think That Pointy Hat Came From Anyway? By Lillity Veritas (a link to the full article is above)

“There is another, commonly held belief that the pointed hat originated with another persecuted group in Europe, the Jews. While Jews did wear pointed headgear, most scholars now believe these hats were not a likely source for the witch’s pointed hat. After all, pointed hats were fairly common throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

This fact leads us to the source I find to be most believable, and most mundane, for the Pointy Hat Look. During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, commoners in Wales and England often wore pointed hats. As fashions changed, the last to retain the old styles were the rural and peasant folk, who were considered “backward” by higher society and were usually the ones accused of heresy and witchcraft. Much as we today have stereotypes of the sort of student who might commit violence at a high school, so did the medieval people have their ideas of what sort of person might be a witch.

Along these lines, Gary Jensen, a professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University, postulates a connection between the persecution of Quakers in America and the stereotypical appearance of witches in our folklore. Quakers did wear pointed hats, and the negative image of witches wearing conical hats in America became common about the same time anti-Quaker sentiment was at a peak. Quakers were thought by some to consort with demons and practice black magic, things also associated with the early American view of witches. Once again, an easily recognized symbol of an oppressed minority may have become generalized to a group equated with them.

In the final analysis, it’s likely that more than one of these issues came into play to ingrain the pointy hat into the mainstream idea of what a witch looks like. After all, the ideas that stick most firmly in the mind are the ones repeated from different sources, and many things in history can’t be traced to a single root cause or moment.”

The Wonderful World of Herbs

The Wonderful World of Herbs

Author: Crick

The very first herb that I became aware of was Sassafras (Sassafras officinale) . I was about four years old and even now at the age of fifty three, I still savor the taste and smells of a hot mug of sassafras, which by the way is a mild diuretic. I was always amused by how the root would grow to just one side.

From then until now I can honestly say that I have rarely used a prescription/commercial medicine, preferring to use natural herbs instead, which is in keeping with my pagan upbringing.

And before the billionaires that make up the AMA get their tails in a knot, I am not advocating the use of natural herbs over prescription medicines. I do advocate doing your research to see if perhaps there is a more natural approach to ones individual well being. However this is a personal decision each has to make for him or herself.

At any rate, as the years passed, my interest and study of herbs grew and eventually I became certified as a Master Herbalist, which just means that I like the study of herbs, a lot. As such I am often asked a zillion questions about this ailment or that and what is the best herb to treat it with.

There is a story from Celtic paganism about how DianChect the master physician for the Tuatha De Danann, slew his son, Miach during a fit of jealousy. And from his grave sprang 365 different herbs which Miach’s sister, Airmed, harvested in order to give them to the human race. When their father saw what she was doing, he scattered the herbs all about so that humans did not obtain such knowledge so easily.

And that’s ok, for one thing I am not of the mind to question what decisions the Gods decide to make in relation to humans. And I am of the mind that one should always do their research before engaging in the use of herbs.

Also as a pagan I firmly believe in the old adage that rather then learning a little about a lot of herbs, one should learn a lot about just a few herbs.

Herbs are a natural form of medicine, so as with anything, do your research. For those who seek to incorporate herbs into their regimen but whom also take prescription drugs, you should be very aware of any possible contraindications between the herbs and the man-made medicines that you are taking.

You can complement your research into herbs by reading classics such as Culpepper’s Herbal, Shennong Emperor’s Classic of Materia Medica (Shennong Bencao Jing) , Compendium of Materia Medica (Bencao Gangmu) and the Treatise on the Nature of Medicinal Herbs (Yao Xing Lun) .

The Doctrine of Signatures is also interesting even if you don’t necessarily agree with it.
Of course every herbalist worth their roots have a few favorite herbs that they relate to. A few of mine are Hawthorn (Crataegus oxycantha) , an herb that is dedicated to Hymen, the God of marriage. Hawthorn is effective for curing insomnia and is used to prevent miscarriage and for treating nervousness. Hawthorn has been used for centuries in treating heart disease, as regular use strengthens the heart muscles, and to prevent arteriosclerosis, angina, and poor heart action. Hawthorn normalizes blood pressure by regulating heart action; extended use will usually lower blood pressure.

But again and I can’t stress this enough, Do Your Research!

I also employ Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) as a remedy for liver problems. It is used for varicose veins, menstrual difficulty, and congestion in the liver, spleen and kidneys. And the poisons most dangerous to the liver, those contained in the Deathcap mushroom, can be effectively detoxified with Milk Thistle extract. Shitake mushrooms are known for their anti-tumor properties and have been used as a dietary supplement for thousands of years in the Orient.

Moving on, I cannot say enough about White Willow bark (Salix alba) . The White willow contains salicin, the active constituent from which commercial aspirin was first synthesized. White willow bark is used for rheumatic complaints, arthritis, headaches as well as diarrhea, dysentery and a number of other complaints. I suggest the White Willow because though a number of other Willows also contain salicin, the tannin levels may be too high for other types of Willow to be of use.

St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) has a long and interesting history. The first century Greek physicians Galen and Dioscorides recommended it as a diuretic, wound healing herb, and as a treatment for menstrual disorders. In the sixteenth century Paracelsus, who ushered in the era of mineral medicines, used St. John’s Wort externally for treating wounds and for allaying the pain of contusions. St. John’s Wort, flowers at the time of the summer solstice, and in medieval Europe it was considered to have powerful magical properties that enabled it to repel evil.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is considered to be one of nature’s most effective herbal tranquilizers. It is a powerful root for the nerves, and as such, valerian should not be taken for longer than a few weeks, as it can become addictive. It helps cure depression when taken once or twice. It is also a good sedative for such conditions as neuralgia, hypochondria, insomnia, and nervous tension. It also appears to have real benefits in cases of sciatica, multiple sclerosis, shingles, and peripheral neuropathy, including numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and pain in the extremities. A very good herb when used properly.

And last but certainly not least is Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) . Red Clover is used as a nerve tonic and as a sedative for exhaustion. It is used to strengthen those children with weak systems, and is used with children for coughs, bronchitis, wheezing, as it is mild to their systems. Red Clover contains some of the best mucus clearing properties found in nature.
For over 100 years Red Clover has been used to treat and prevent cancer. It is often used in combination with many other drugs in the treatment of cancer and is known to be one of the best herbs for treating all varieties of cancer anywhere in the body.

If you make a personal decision to use herbs in your daily life and you decide to harvest such herbs yourself, please show some respect for Mother Nature. Please don’t harvest endangered or declining species. And when you do harvest, only take a little and leave a lot. This will contribute to a continuing harvest, as the herbs will have a chance to populate.

Some of the herbs listed in this article may not grow in your area, but there may be equivalent herbs that grow within your local area. And for the last time, please do your research. And when harvesting wild herbs be wary of nearby pollutants such as heavily traveled roads, polluted streams and such. Also think of the needs of the wildlife and insects in your area. Far too often as humans, we only think of our own needs. But as pagans we have a greater responsibility then just ourselves…